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September 18: Happy Birthday Jason Sudeikis and Greta Garbo

0918SudeikisGarbo

Jason Sudeikis turns 42 today.  He began his career working in improv comedy, first with ComedySportz in Kansas City, then with a variety of other comedy troupes across the country.  In 2003 he was hired as a writer for Saturday Night Live, and was added to the show’s regular performing cast two years later, remaining through 2013.  His regular sketches and characters included DJ Supersoak, Pete Twinkie, the ESPN host, and performing with Kristen Wiig in the “Two A-holes” sketches.

During his SNL year, Sudeikis also had recurring roles on 30 Rock and Eastbound & Down, and was a regular, as a voice actor, on The Cleveland Show.  He began to get prominent film roles around 2010, with major supporting roles in The Bounty Hunter, the Horrible Bosses films, and The Campaign.  His first leading role came in We’re the Millers in 2013.

Sudeikis has been busy lately, appearing in six feature films in 2016 alone (one voice role included), among them Colossal, Masterminds, and The Book of Love.  His latest, Kodachrome, screened earlier this month at Toronto.

Greta Garbo (1905-1990) was born in Stockholm, and left school at the age of about 13, working for a while in a department store, and then as a model, eventually making some filmed commercials.  She made her feature film debut in the 1924 Swedish film The Saga of Gösta Berling, and shortly after was signed to a contract by MGM.  Her first silent film with MGM was Torrent, in 1926, and she went on to star in ten more films by the end of the decade, by which time she was MGM’s leading box office star.

In 1930 came the famous news that “Garbo talks!”  Her first sound film was Anna Christie, adapted from Eugene O’Neill’s play, and she received her first of three Best Actress nominations that year.  In the next few years she starred in films such as Grand Hotel, Queen Christina, and Camille, receiving her second Best Actress nomination for the latter.  She was one of several actresses labeled “box office poison” in a famous (or infamous) 1938 article, but bounced back in her first comedy, and one of her most famous roles, the following year.

Garbo received her third Best Actress nod for Ninotchka, and in a non-Scarlett O’Hara year might well have taken an Oscar home.  And then, after just one more film, came her retirement.  Her frequently reclusive behavior in the nearly fifty years remaining in her life probably added to the mystique that already surrounded her name.

Nina Arianda, who turns 33, made her Broadway debut as Billie Dawn in a revival of Born Yesterday in 2011, and received a Tony nomination.  She then won a Tony for Best Actress in a Play a year later for starring in the original production of Venus in Fur.  She has been in films such as Midnight in Paris and Tower Heist and is a regular on Amazon’s Goliath.

Tara Fitzgerald is 50 today.  She has done films such as Conquest and In a Dark Place, was a regular on the final seasons of the BBC’s Waking the Dead, and won a Drama Desk Award for playing Ophelia in a 1995 revival of HamletChristopher Heyerdahl, known for his regular role on AMC’s Hell on Wheels and for playing Marcus of the Volturi in the Twilight films, is 54.  Actor and comedian Billy Eichner, who is 39 today, hosts the game show Billy on the Street and stars on Hulu’s Difficult PeopleNicole da Silva, who turns 36, is a major star on Australian television, currently a regular on Wentworth and Doctor DoctorMichael Landes, who turns 45 today, has had a lot of television work over the past 30 years.  He played Jimmy Olsen on Lois & Clark and recently had regular roles in the short-lived series Save Me and Hooten & the Lady.

Dennis Johnson (1954-2007) is our sports birthday today.  The Basketball Hall of Famer made 7 NBA All-Star teams and played key roles for three NBA champions, the Supersonics in 1979 and the Celtics in 1984 and 1986.  His calling card was defense; he made the NBA All-Defensive team nine times.

Cinematographer Jack Cardiff (1914-2009) was best known for his work on features in the 1940s and ’50s.  He made several films with the Powell & Pressburger duo, winning an Oscar for Black NarcissusRossano Brazzi (1916-1994) worked for over fifty years in the cinema of his native Italy, and periodically ventured to Hollywood, playing major roles in films such as The Barefoot Contessa, South Pacific (as Emile De Becque), and Light in the Piazza.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was one of the leading literary figures of 18th Century England.  He is remembered for two famous books, his A Dictionary of the English Language, the standard British dictionary until the OED first appeared in the early 20th century, and his Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, a vital work of literary criticism.  He was also the subject of perhaps the most famous biography ever written in English, James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel JohnsonJoseph Story (1779-1845) was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1811 and remained until his death.  He was one of the most influential figures in the Court’s history.  He was portrayed in the movie Amistad by none other than another former Justice, Harry Blackmun.

A year ago on this date, Frankie Avalon and James Gandolfini were our headliners.  For the first time since I started into the second year of birthday articles, there is nothing to update about either headliner, since one is dead and one is apparently fully retired.  However, we do have some non-headliners worth checking up on.

It’s James Marsden’s 44th today.  He will return to the second season of Westworld as Teddy Flood, and will costar in Rob Reiner’s upcoming Shock and AweJada Pinkett Smith is 46; she appeared in the recent films Bad Moms and Girls Trip, but will not be returning to future seasons of Gotham (her character was killed off).  Aisha Tyler, who turns 47, continues to host Whose Line Is It Anyway? and remains a regular on Criminal MindsHolly Robinson Peete, who is 53, and her family had starred on the reality show For Peete’s Sake on the Oprah Winfrey Network for two seasons; it was canceled last spring.  Pilar López de Ayala is celebrating her 38th; after a career hiatus, she has been returing to film in the past couple of years, most recently in the Italian film Agadah.

Fred Willard continues to make film and TV appearances as he turns 78, including his recurring part of Frank Dunphy on Modern FamilyAnna Deavere Smith, who is 67, makes her first feature film appearance in a decade in next year’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?

June Foray (1917-2017) passed away earlier this summer.  The veteran voice actress had worked until well past her 90th birthday and will be remembered for voices like Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Granny from the Tweety & Sylvester cartoons.

If today is your birthday, congratulations on sharing your big day with these notable names.  Birthday wishes to everyone celebrating a big day today.  Come back tomorrow for more celebrity birthdays.

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Posted on September 18, 2017, in Celebrity Birthdays and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. We’re the Millers is the only Jason Sudeikis film I’ve seen—it was pretty good and funny. 2 or 3 of his other films look interesting.

    If you have never seen Garbo in Ninotchka, do not put it off any longer. The term “must see” is a bit overused, but in this case it is 100% correct.

    Nina Arianda didn’t make a huge impression on me in Midnight in Paris—her part was quite small—but she is building an impressive resume, particularly on stage.

    Like

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